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Update: California Is Abnormally Dry After Low-Precipitation Winter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A dry beginning to the year has left most of California abnormally parched, with officials bracing for the possibility of an early and more intense wildfire season amid record-breaking temperatures. A map released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought has expanded to nearly a quarter of the state, mainly in central California. The map shows 70% of the state is abnormally dry. It’s shaping up to be the driest February on record for much of the state. Downtown San Francisco is on its way to its first rain-free February since 1864. State water officials, however, say it’s too early to consider conservation measures.